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Seven Gators were in action on the second day of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by State Farm. Two members of the Orange and Blue stood out with their performances at the prestigious meet, held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.
“I’m very pleased with the overall effort of the teams today, particularly Kyle Strawn and Ugonna Ndu,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said.
Sophomore Kyle Strawn (Temecula, Calif.) set a new personal best in the men’s hammer throw, utilizing his second throw of the meet to finish fourth with a mark of 62.36m/204-7.
“Kyle stepping up in a big meet and setting a new personal best shows he has a bright future in this program,” Holloway commented.
Strawn has thrown personal bests in the opening two weekends of the 2013 outdoor season, besting his previous PB of 62.20m/204-1 from the UCF Invitational last weekend. The California native, a transfer from UCSB, holds strong at second all-time at Florida.
Senior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) qualified for the finals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles with her preliminary time of 58.59, just missing out on the heat victory behind Arkansas’ Sparkle McKnight. Ndu will race in the finals at 6:45 p.m. CT.
“Ugonna is a senior and got her final season off to a great start today,” Holloway said. “I’m very proud of the work Coach (Steve) Lemke and Coach (Erin) Tucker have done with Kyle and Ugonna, respectively.”
The Gators have a full day Friday, starting with the women’s javelin at 9:30 a.m. CT and the relays beginning on the track at 9:35 a.m. CT.
“I’m looking forward to another exciting day from the Gators tomorrow,” Holloway finished. “It’s great to be a Florida Gator.”
The four-day meet continues Friday, March 29 at Mike A. Myers Stadium and runs through Saturday, March 30. The headquarters for the Relays can be found here. The official hashtag for the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, for fans who want to follow all the action on Twitter, is #TXRelays13.
The Longhorn Network will provide 18 original hours of programming throughout the meet. ESPN's Dave LaMont provides play-by-play throughout the meet, and former NCAA All-American athlete and current ESPN radio host Sean Adams serves as reporter. Rounding out the team, Larry Rawson, Emmy Award-winning track and field sportscaster, and Dwight Stones, track and field Olympian, serve as analysts.
For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/trackfield or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida track and field on Twitter at @GZTrackField or www.twitter.com/GZTrackField. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.
Lady Tigers Continue Relay Dominance with Win at Texas Relays
AUSTIN, Texas – After winning a single-season meet record of four relay titles a season ago, the Lady Tigers scored their first relay victory of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Thursday night by running away with the women’s 4x800-meter relay for their fourth win in the event in six seasons at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Junior Thomas Reinecke smashed his lifetime PR in a runner-up finish in the B section fo the men’s pole vault, while junior Karen Henning and sophomore Jeremy Tuttle added personal-record performances with fifth-place finishes in the hammer throw to lead the way in the field events during the second day of action at this year’s Texas Relays.
The Lady Tigers have dominated the 4x800-meter relay at the Texas Relays in recent years, and added to their trophy case with Thursday’s victory for their fourth win in the last six seasons.
Led by a split of 2 minutes, 5 seconds on the anchor leg by NCAA Indoor champion Natoya Goule, the Lady Tigers cruised to victory in 8:41.25 while finishing nearly five seconds ahead of the runner-up team from Illinois crossing the finish line in 8:46.08. Goule brought home the victory following strong legs by senior Laura Carleton (2:12), senior Charlene Lipsey (2:08) and sophomore Samantha Levin (2:16) in the race.
The Baylor Bears finished well back in third place at 8:46.77, followed by the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in fourth place at 8:58.42 and UCLA Bruins in fifth place at 8:59.53.
The Lady Tigers have featured one of the nation’s strongest 4x800-meter relay teams in recent years as they claimed their fourth victory at the Texas Relays in six seasons on Thursday night following titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011. They have now won five Texas Relays titles in the event all-time while capturing their inaugural victory in 1985.
While the Lady Tigers claimed LSU’s first event title at this year’s Texas Relays, Reinecke nearly defended his crown in the B section of the men’s pole vault while eclipsing his lifetime best by nearly five inches.
Reinecke was strong throughout the competition as he cleared 17 feet, 1 inch on his first attempt, 17-5 on his third attempt and 17-9 on his first attempt before fouling out of the event with three misses at 18-1. With a career-best clearance of 17-9, Reinecke is now tied as the No. 5-ranked pole vaulter outdoors in the program’s storied history.
Reinecke was one of three competitors clearing 17-9 in the pole vault final, but finished in second place based on the number of misses in the competition. Texas A&M freshman Chase Wolfle earned the victory with a clearance of 17-9, while Rice sophomore Chris Pillow claimed third place with an equal clearance of 17-9.
Senior Joseph Caraway and junior Jaora Johnson also cleared lifetime bests in Thursday’s pole vault as Caraway cleared 17-5 to tie for fourth place and Johnson cleared 17-1 to tie for ninth place.
It also proved to be a memorable day for two LSU hammer throwers as Henning and Tuttle each earned a fifth-place finish in their respective finals while setting matching personal records during the competition.
Henning wasted no time in smashing her career best with an opening mark of 201-0 on her first throw of the day as she locked up a fifth-place finish in the women’s university hammer throw. Henning moved up a spot into the No. 3 position on LSU’s all-time list while eclipsing her previous PR of 197-2. Winning the women’s hammer throw at 236-9 was professional Amanda Bingson of Nike, followed by UCLA’s Ida Storm (217-1) in second place, Baylor’s Erin Atkinson (211-5) in third place and Akron’s Brittany Funk (204-9) in fourth place overall.
Fellow junior Denise Hinton followed Henning in eighth place in the women’s final with a series-best throw of 187-3 on her sixth and final attempt of the competition.
Tuttle matched Henning’s effort with a PR of his own at 201-0 in the third round of throws en route to a fifth-place finish in the men’s university hammer throw. UCLA’s Alec Faldermeyer (228-10) took home the men’s crown, followed by Oregon’s Greg Skipper (216-5) in second place, Abilene Chirstian’s Baptiste Kerjean (213-8) in third place and Florida’s Kyle Strawn (204-7) in fourth place.
Tuttle cracked the LSU’s Top 10 list for the first time in his collegiate career as the No. 8-ranked hammer thrower in school history as he broke his previous PR by more than seven feet. He opened the season with a top mark of 193-6 at the Louisiana Classics back on March 16.
“What a great way for both of our teams to open up the meet today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “When you see so many personal bests being set this early in the season, it shows the competitive mindset of those athletes in making this trip and the potential they have to keep improving over the course of the outdoor season.
“We hope this is the start of another great weekend for our teams at the Texas Relays. It’s a great opportunity for us to show some improvement as a team here this weekend.”
Lady Tiger freshman Therese Jernbeck finished in eighth place in her first collegiate heptathlon as she ended Thursday’s action with 5,261 points in seven events over two days of competition at the Texas Relays.
After opening the day by scoring 603 points with a series-best jump of 16-11 ¼ in the long jump, Jernbeck threw a seasonal best of 119-6 for 599 points in the javelin before clocking her new lifetime personal record of 2:14.67 for the fastest time of the day and an additional 897 points in the first heat of the 800-meter run.
Jernbeck eclipsed her previous 800-meter PR of 2:15.98 set in her collegiate debut in the pentathlon at the Razorback Invitational during the indoor season. She actually set two lifetime bests in her first heptathlon as a Lady Tiger as she also cleared a career-best height of 5-7 ¾ in Wednesday’s high jump en route to a Day 1 score of 3,162 points.
A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Jernbeck was just 63 points shy of her personal-best score of 5,324 points set as a member of Team Sweden at the 2011 European Junior Athletics Championships.
Mississippi State sophomore and reigning NCAA Indoor pentathlon champion Erica Bougard took the heptathlon title at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays with a national-leading score of 5,649 points in her two days of competition. Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas followed in second place with 5,578 points, while Makeba Alcide of Arkansas trailed in third place with 5,576 points.
The Lady Tigers first took to the track in the qualifying round of the 400-meter hurdles as junior Nikita Tracey earned her spot in the final with a seasonal-best performance during Thursday’s preliminary action.
While running in the last of 11 qualifying heats, Tracey posted a seasonal-best time of 58.76 seconds to finish runner-up to Texas’ Danielle Dowie (58.22) in the race as the sixth-fastest qualifier of the day. She earned a spot in the championship final that is scheduled to run at 6:45 p.m. CT on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Fellow junior Shana-Gaye Tracey finished in 13th place in Thursday’s qualifying with a run of 1:00.22, while sophomore Chanice Chase ran 1:02.53 to finish in 39th place overall.
The 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays continues Friday morning with the field events at 9:30 a.m. CT before the Tigers and Lady Tigers take to the track for the first relay prelims of the morning session at 9:35 a.m. LSU is set to start the afternoon session is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., followed by the evening session at 5:30 p.m. with the field events and 6 p.m. with the first relay finals on the track.
Day Two at Relays Concludes With Mississippi State Win
AUSTIN, Texas – Action continued in Austin on Thursday as day two of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays wrapped with a first-place heptathlon finish from Mississippi State sophomore Erica Bougard.
With 3,570 points under her belt after the first day of competition, Bougard entered the remainder of the heptathlon battle in the lead. After jumping a second-place 19-03.25 in the long jump to pick up 810 points, the Lady Bulldog threw 86-08 in the javelin to gain another 409 points. Her previous performances, coupled with a time of 2:17.34 in the 800-meter run, solidified her spot in first. Bougard collected 5,649 points over the two-day event to win at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
MSU’s momentum only continued as javelin thrower Allison Storey posted 138-10 to place her second on the school’s all-time performer list. Her personal-best throw placed her eighth overall.
Also seeing action for the women was newcomer Cornelia Griesche, who ran in the 3000-meter steeplechase. The freshman clocked 10:39.41 to land a fifth-place finish.
On the men’s side, distance veteran John Valentine posted a time of 9:13.99 in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase to finish 14th.
Races conclude Thursday in Texas with the men’s 5000-meter run, followed by the 10,000-meter run at 10:30 p.m. Stay tuned for updates by following the Bulldogs on Twitter (@msutracksarah) or visit texassports.com.